Facebook finally releases local user numbers to prove its weight to advertisers

Facebook has released its Australian user metrics for the first time and proved just how much muscle it has in the Australian market.

Figures released this week based on different data points including IP addresses show that the social media site is checked by a staggering nine million Australians each day and has 12 million monthly active users.

Most of the major social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, have previously refused to release detailed daily user figures. Twitter has never published national user figures, but it is estimated that there are approximately two million accounts in Australia.

The new figures confirm Facebook’s position as the most used social media platform in Australia. In a statement accompanying Facebook’s user data it says:

“A lot of people focus on monthly active users or even registered users to demonstrate their size and scale. Facebook sees this becoming on old way of looking at the media world. In this world, understanding who comes back at least once a month is only part of the picture. Instead, businesses should focus on people who come back online every single day, because that is how they live their lives. People are online numerous times in a single day and are constantly connected; creating, sharing and engaging with the content that matters to them.
For advertisers, this will help to create campaigns that can reach the right people at the right time on both desktop and mobile. Old ways of reaching people are becoming obsolete. Advertisers of all sizes should be able to reach all the right people and do it quickly and efficiently.”

 

Five ways to better manage your social media

Most people still see more marketing value in a press release or an ad, rather than in social media. The main reason for this negative perception stems from how social media is often managed, but this is easily fixed.

When managing social media content and social communities you need to monitor, measure and constantly optimize them to demonstrate their value, just as you do for traditional marketing campaigns. When you do this, you’re able to see important information like where your sales and leads are coming from, what’s resonating with your community and what is turning them away.

There are lots of ways to get this information and it’s only as complicated as you make it. Here are five ways to better manage your social media:

1 – Bring your communities together

One of the biggest and most legitimate issues with managing social media is that your presence is often split across multiple platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. The result is all of the valuable information about your content, communities and conversations are also distributed across several platforms.

To overcome this, there are a variety of tools that will allow you to monitor all of your social media communities simultaneously, as well as let you publish content, respond to comments and analyse them, all in real time.

2 – Unchain yourself from the Desktop

Social media is as much about your business as it is about the world around you. You need to be able to go where the action is – with your community and customers to events and other activities that are relevant to your brand.

When you’re thinking about how to physically manage your social media, try not to lock it down to a desktop computer in the office. Think about how you can use other devices such as tablets and smartphones to provide real time management of community and content.

3 – Don’t just post! Analyze, report and set goals.

Most important – make sure your content is relevant to your community. Like the other parts of your marketing mix, social media is about more than just execution. Posting content regularly is important, but to get real value out of it you need to constantly analyse your results metrics, such as engagement, growth or sales; learn from them and set regular goals.

There are lots of metrics you can track. When you’re setting up or re-evaluating the process or tools for managing your communities, decide what metrics are most valuable to you, how you’ll measure them and what you’ll need to make it happen.

4 – Plan ahead and keep your team in the loop

Even if only one person is managing your social media, remember that person is representing your whole brand. Therefore, it’s important that stakeholders from across your organisation are aware of what’s happening.

Creating a regular calendar of content and sharing it with your team will ensure people are up to date with social media activity. It may also encourage other teams to contribute content of their own.

5 – Use change to empower your community manager(s)

Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter add new features for users, and update existing ones very regularly. This means the way you manage your social media, and the tools used to manage it, will evolve very quickly too.

To make sure you’re able to get the most out of new updates, make sure your team has access to resources that explain what new features are when they happen and how they can best leverage them. This will empower them to take advantage of each update, rather than avoiding it.

There are lots of ways to refine your social media management and get real value from it. However, these five tips are the building blocks from which more advanced social media management begins. What do you think – have you started with these? Are there any others you would add? Tell me in the comments below.

Facebook gets a CMO

Social networking site Facebook has appointed its first-ever CMO, with former Googler Gary Briggs stepping into the role.

Facebook so far has not been completely marketer-less, of course – since 2010 its marketing efforts have been overseen by vice president of product marketing, Eric Antonow, whom Briggs is officially replacing.

Briggs comes to the social network from Motorola Mobility, where he was chief marketer since being appointed last year amid the leadership overhaul that took place when Google finalised its purchase of the hardware maker.

Prior to that, Briggs was vice president of consumer marketing at Google, overseeing efforts for the web giant’s search, commerce, Chrome and Google Plus, and previously worked at eBay for six years in another VP of consumer marketing role.

In a statement, Briggs says of his appointment: “Facebook isn’t just a company. For more than a billion people, it’s their connection to the friends and things they care about most. Telling the story of such an important and still very young brand is an incredible opportunity, and I cannot wait to get started.”

Spike in Facebook ad revenue sees share prices soar

Facebook’s shares have skyrocketed after its announcement that 41% of its ad revenue came from mobile, compared to the 30% of revenue mobile made in the prior quarter. The year before that Facebook made virtually nothing from its mobile applications.

The surge is being put down to the company’s earnings report showing large increases in ad revenue from mobile technology.

“We’ve made good progress growing our community, deepening engagement and delivering strong financial results, especially on mobile,” Facebook chief executive and Mark Zuckerberg said during the announcement.

Today, Facebook’s shares have swelled by more than 25% in early trading following a surprisingly good earnings report.

Facebook shares were up 26.0% to $33.39 at lunchtime on Thursday (U.S time) which is the highest level since May 2012 and have not appreciably moved higher since the company’s high-profile public offering in May 2012.

The company is making a priority of following its more than one billion members onto smartphones or tablets as lifestyles increasingly revolve around accessing the internet from mobile devices.

Facebook reported net income in the second quarter of $US331 million compared with a loss of $US157 million in the year-ago period.

 

People not puppets – ensuring Gamification adds real value to customer relationships

Gamification is growing fast in its use across a wide spectrum of industries even though it is not, technically, a new idea; game mechanics have been used in training and technical learning for years and there are aspects of Gamification in most loyalty programs and social platforms.

M2 Research says the global market for Gamification will explode from $242 million in 2012 to $2.8 billion in 2016. A big driver in this growth is the potential for Gamification to improve audience understanding and involvement in many areas – customer loyalty, employee motivation and education to name a few.

At the heart of Gamification’s appeal is the need to find creative ways to engage audiences who are overwhelmed by content. In a world where the humble PDF is becoming the natural enemy of audiences seeking to be engaged, we are all turning to more appealing ways to get the information we need.

We are naturally drawn to entertaining, visually appealing, easily digestible information sources and the power is in our hands to choose who, when, where and on what we will engage.  Witness the rise of video consumption on mobile as part of this trend.

Gamification may be the answer but the problem is that businesses can rush into it without necessarily lifting the bonnet to see what is making it work. There are a number of services putting their hands up to execute it for you but executing without a clear view of what motivates your audience can and will prove fatal.

There are a number of notable research authorities looking closely at digital trends that are clearly stating the dangers; Forrester Research and Gartner are both cautious on the success rate of Gamification programs.

We found it interesting that Gartner, the world’s leading technology researcher and advisor, published two articles on this topic. One that stated by 2014, Gamification would be as important as Facebook, eBay or Amazon and more than 70% of companies will have at least one ‘gamified’ application.

The second one led with the headline that 80% of these applications will fail! Enough to make you think twice before rushing into production don’t you think?

But why the high failure rate? Perhaps Brian Burke of Gartner Inc put it most succinctly when he said that businesses need to stop treating their audience as puppets by simply slapping on some points and leader boards.

His point is that poor design is the core reason why a lot of Gamification projects will falter. By ‘design’ I am referring to design of the interaction and the value of its content, not simply the visual appeal of the concept.

The simple way to overcome this is to revert to something that all businesses should feel pretty familiar with. Know your audience. What are the rational drivers? What appeals to them emotionally? How do they like to be spoken to? What will prompt them to engage, share, and continue the conversation?

All strong brand communications do this. Speaking to the hearts and minds of your audience is as important in Gamification as the rest of your marketing efforts. Simply adopting off the shelf Gamification solutions in the pursuit of a quick win will be just that – very quick.

Here is a simple reference to the complementary parts that go to making a successful Gamification program. Each of them is important in ensuring your investment in this area delivers an ongoing benefit to your business and your customers.

In our work, we are finding that the real power lies in tapping into what we refer to as the hidden motivators. Is it the personal sense of achievement they seek? Or perhaps they appreciate immediate feedback on their progress? Or is it the ability to share your progress with friends or others in your social community? Having a clear focus on these more emotive drivers will help the overall design of what you put in front of the audience you are seeking to engage.

Gamification has a lot of potential but only when combined with some good traditional marketing disciplines. Don’t leave it to luck in your pursuit of games that last.

Changing segmentation practices in the age of the social customer

The age of the social customer is changing segmentation practice for marketers. Traditional approaches can be time consuming and by the time the research is done and implemented, the segments may well have changed or the insights become outdated.

A recent study conducted at Oxford Brookes University in the UK reinforced that marketing managers need to become familiar and adapt to the characteristics of the various social media platforms used by their customers.

Researches gathered data from companies operating in B2C environments and found that integration, outsourcing, culture and resources all seem to play a key role in the adoption of social media in segmentation.

Use of social media to identify and profile customers

The research found Twitter, Facebook and some interest-specific forums were the most frequently monitored by the organisations interviewed. “We pick up a lot on forums. There are 415 forums associated with international banking,” said a research interviewee from the financial services sector. Video sharing website YouTube, was also used by a few organisations while a smaller number screened the social scoring platform Klout. Some country-specific applications, such as Ren Ren in China, were used by companies operating in an international context.

Although data derived from social media complements information traditionally made available via organisations’ CRM systems and can bring marketers closer to obtaining a single view of customers, many firms agreed there was not yet an automatic or seamless integration of CRM and social media data.

Organisational issues, legal and ethical considerations concerning data collection and identity issues, that is marrying social media identities with those on the organisations existing  databases.

“Customers have different user names on [social media] so… it’s hard to know who they are,” said one participant in the study.

Use of social media to evaluate segment attractiveness

Over half of the participants used social media to define segments to target, based on its timeliness and ability to focus on granular data of product usage and common interests among users. However, all agreed the resources required to fully realise the potential of social media, managing the thousands of conversations was still beyond their means.

Targeting influencers was deemed an area to be full of potential, with the common perception being that communication via influencers was more effective than corporate messages. The influencers may not be customers but rather experts whose opinions are valued

“Influencers on social networks are not always the influencers offline. They are sometimes new influencers that we would not have otherwise reached,” said a research participant from the financial services sector.

Use of social media to position the company’s offer

The study found there is no clear consensus on how to reach out to targets, and engage with them. Attracting the target through interactivity and responsiveness was found to be the most effective.

Limited guidance on how to use social media for positioning means that many interviewed were resorting to ‘trial and error’ approaches to forming a strategy.

The study uncovered some innovative ways to overcome the challenges companies were facing. Some organisations adopted a hub-and-spoke model, monitored some platforms centrally and others locally via agencies or branches with specific skills (for instance, language). To improve data integration, organisations are finding innovative ways to reconcile the different databases, such as the creation of customer insight teams are being created to overcome silos or the offer of incentives to customers in order to obtain information that allows them to marry social media log-ins with offline identities.

 

Ana Isabel Canhoto, Moira Clark & Paul Fennemore, Faculty of Business, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford , UK, 2013 Emerging segmentation practices in the age of the social customer. Accessed in July, 2013 Link

 

Federal election perfect for social media cut through

Kevin Rudd may be back but I’m not sure it heralds the beginning on a new era of enlightened and dispassionate reporting in the news. The relentless and disrespectful personal campaign against Julia Gillard is but one example of how traditional media is obsessed with personalities, froth and gossip. Not to forget the endless reporting of polls.

In this election year, where is the meaningful policy debate and discussion in our newspapers and news websites? In the place of factual reporting we are served a daily dollop of unashamedly partisan opinion. It’s on par with the tittle tattle of celebrity gossip mags.

It’s hardly surprising then that Australians are consuming significantly less traditional media and replacing it with their own personally curated news and content. While friends, acquaintances and colleagues share a large number of political news stories and posts, it’s easier to filter out rants and raves and see one-sided opinion for what it is. On social networks, your friends aren’t selling their opinion and interests as news.

Hooked on social

According to 2012 data from Experian Marketing Services if the time Australians spent online via personal computers were compressed into one hour, 14 minutes of it would be spent on social media, while just four minutes would be spent on news.

To illustrate this point, the figures published by Hitwise on the number of visits to the top three news sites in the country for the week to 22 June 2013 look like this:

  1. News.com.au: 6,975,399
  2. Sydney Morning Herald: 6,353,67,
  3. Ninemsn News: 6,118,397.

 

Compare this with their data on visits to social media sites over the same period:

  1. Facebook: 94,164,765,
  2. YouTube: 80,800,628, and
  3. YouTube Mobile: 15,577,599.

 

With the election coming some time later this year, I wonder if team Rudd or team Abbott understand this, and more importantly, can take advantage of it. After all, if you can’t get a fair hearing across traditional media, there are other, more potent means.

One-sided election

Cast your mind back to the US election last year. Even as late as the morning of the election, Romney’s senior advisers were certain that he had the numbers to win decisively. It wasn’t a matter of being cautiously optimistic, they were supremely confident. A massive fireworks display was set up to initiate the victory celebrations for Romney in Boston.

Back at camp Obama, confidence was also high. They too had done their numbers.

By the middle of the afternoon on Election Day campaign workers in the Romney camp were reporting a surprisingly large voter turnout in areas that favoured President Obama. States they had expected to be called early were not. Pennsylvania went to the President, then so did Ohio. The Romney camp couldn’t believe they had been so wrong.

Team Obama’s confidence was well placed. Rather than relying on their ability to sell their policies and encourage supporters to get out and vote via traditional media, they chose instead to crunch data, combine biographical information with consumer habit data, and micro-target voters with breathtaking speed and efficiency.

This data also helped inform and drive the campaign’s media buying, and helped them create detailed models of swing-state voters that were used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct marketing and social media.

Using insights from complicated data modelling, team Obama avoided the traditional route of buying ads in local news programming and instead counted on Obama’s 50 million or so social media connections to spark a network effect. It was the same data analysis which led them to buy advertising, to great effect, during unconventional programming, like Sons of Anarchy and The Walking Dead.

Mining data

At this stage, the election here is looking like a decidedly one-sided affair. But both the major parties would do well to take note of the Romney-Obama result and the unconventional electioneering techniques used by the victor.

Does either party know, for instance, how many voters in urban areas are more likely to use a mobile phone than their laptop as their primary means of internet access? Or who is using Android v iOS devices and which social networks are preferred by swing voters in crucial seats?

If the US experience is any guide, they should. Data mining and social insights can win elections.

 

Cadbury and Woolworths partner for interactive campaign

The newest addition of Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations range will only be sold at Woolworths as part of a partnership between the chocolate brand and supermarket. The campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Banana Candy, Peanut Drops and Choc Biscuit will also allow consumers to vote for it to keep it on the shelves.

The launch of the new product will be be supported by a TVC and a campaign encompassing TV, PR, out of home, point of sale and digital. The campaign, conceived by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, asks chocolate lovers to get involved and vote on whether the new creation should stay on shelves or not.

The 15-second TVC will air nationally on 10 July and features the ‘Joymobile’  driving down a winding country road before the driver hits a purple button on the dashboard and a mysterious box gently slides out the back door and is left behind on the road. Next, a Woolworths truck pulls up and the driver hops out to investigate the mysterious package – as he opens it, a purple light illuminates his awe struck face as the joyful contents are revealed.

Voters will be directed to the Joyville Facebook game, created by Visual Jazz Isobar, where a Joyville chef is standing on a trampoline ready for launch and a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ button sits underneath with a meter that registers the users built up clicks. As the meter fills up, the chef will bounce higher and higher until being launched into the sky and taking a joyful journey to land at his final destination, depending on which way the user has voted. The results will be revealed on 7 August.

Ben Wicks, general manager marketing chocolate for Cadbury Dairy Milk, says he is excited by the new campaign which demonstrates the power of customer collaboration and cross-platform innovation.

“We are proud to be working with Woolworths on a market-leading campaign that creatively weaves the Joyville story with the Woolworths fresh food people messaging to deliver a TVC and 360-degree campaign that is quirky, playful and unique. We are confident our customers will absolutely love this new Marvellous Creations product and vote to keep it as part of the range permanently,” he says.

Qantas porn incident teaches valuable lesson in social media management

Qantas has committed yet another ‘faux pas’ on social media after pornographic spam was posted on its Facebook page in the middle of the night and seen by a nine-year-old boy, indicating that even large, global companies like Qantas are struggling to adapt to the always-on nature of social platforms.

The boy had visited the page to enter a competition the airline is currently running. The image was left up on the page for up to seven hours and was removed after the boy’s father complained to the airline.

The father of the affected boy told The Age, “When you rolled over it on the iPad a larger version of the image popped up… the anatomical details were quite clearly recognisable.”

A spokesperson from Qantas told Marketing, “Spam was posted to the Qantas Facebook page in the middle of the night, which included an inappropriate image the size of a profile picture. We removed the post as soon as we saw it and offered an apology to a gentleman who contacted us to complain.”

Currently the airline’s social media pages are only monitored during business hours.

It is not the first time Qantas has gotten into hot water over its social media accounts. In 2011, furious customers took to social media to slam Qantas’ decision to ground its fleet after workplace relations discussions turned nasty.

The airline was also left red faced after the #qantasluxury debacle where customers were encouraged to tweet in their ideas of ‘Qantas luxury’ to win a pair of first-class Qantas pyjamas. Customers instead used the hashtag to air their grievances about the airline.

“We do monitor our Facebook presence very closely and have numerous filters in place to prevent inappropriate content, but this is obviously a challenge facing all companies using social media,” the spokesperson says.

Social media expert and CEO of Quiip, Alison Michalk, says, so many brands just aren’t doing enough moderation after hours.

Employing community managers in nine-to-five type roles doesn’t cut, says Michalk: “Social media is actively used by people outside of business hours, that’s when people are online.”

“[Qantas'] defence is that it went up in the middle of the night, which means they obviously don’t have anyone checking it out of hours.”

Michalk doesn’t think it would be hard to increase the monitoring of social media pages for a global company like Qantas, and is definitely something they should be looking at, particularly with this lastest gaffe affecting a minor.

“They seem to have been a little blasé about saying that it wasn’t so bad. I would have thought anything involving minors would have been taken quite seriously.”

It’s dangerous territory for brands, as inappropriate postings to a company’s social media pages may cause issues beyond outrage and customer complaints. Last year the Advertising Standards Board ruled that posts made by anybody to a Facebook page were deemed advertising and therefore must adhere to the Board’s Code of Practice, meaning exposure of lewd images to minors has the potential to spark legal action against a brand.

 

The changing face of Facebook

I was lucky enough to recently visit Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, just outside of San Francisco. The multi-building campus is incredible and feels like it could have been designed by Willy Wonka, if Mr Wonka was a software developer with a penchant for working long hours. I didn’t lick any walls though so my empirical observations were limited. During the tour I began to think about how much Facebook had changed since it floated a year ago.

In the US Securities and Exchanges letter announcing the Facebook float, Mark Zuckerberg famously (at least in the circles I hang out in) wrote, “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.” Billions of dollars, and over a billion account holders later, Facebook is now very much a company, and one that the whole world is watching very closely.

A focus on generating revenues is having an impact on Facebook the company. While Zuckerberg didn’t seem over concerned with profit before the IPO, pressure from shareholders has shifted the company’s focus. Advertising on the platform has evolved very quickly and there are other revenue generating products being tested all the time.

It could be argued that Facebook may have floated a little too early. As a developer lead organisation (the vast majority of Facebook HQ employees are developers) much of what Facebook does is driven by software updates. The Facebook advertising platform has evolved through this method. But the relentlessness of adverting-focused updates has made it difficult for many people, and brands, to keep up.

My view is that Facebook could have done a better job of educating brands about how to best use the social media platform to generate long term value. The data that brands can now access thanks to Facebook is simply incredible. However for many marketers what that data is, how to access it, and why it is so valuable to marketing efforts is simply not clear.

Of course educating the world’s marketers, many of whom are still coming to grips with all the digital channels at one time, takes time and money. The float of Facebook generated the cash needed to accelerate this process and the world is now beginning to catch up. Much of what I do day-to-day is focused on helping my clients make big leaps in this area.

The question that I just can’t seem to shake is, ‘Why is Facebook not focusing on education more?’ Many advertisers are using the platform the same way they might use Google adverting – without realising that customers are in a very different mindset. While Facebook may be doing a lot to improve the technical aspects of the platform for both users and advertisers, it’s the way advertisers are using the platform that may be part of the reason Facebook appears to be losing account holders.

Facebook’s next big challenge to overcome may have nothing to do with software. It might just be helping the rest of world reframe their relationships with customers – and think like Zuckerberg.

Facebook Performance Report Q1 2013: Australia goes bananas

The top three Facebook pages ‘Liked’ by Australians are: Australia, Bananas in Pyjamas and Hamish and Andy, according to the ’Australian Facebook Performance Report,’ for quarter one 2013 released today.

Bananas in Pyjamas now holds over two million ‘Likes’, making it more than popular brands JB Hi-Fi and Cadbury combined.

Cider brand Rekorderlig secured the most-’Liked’ post among beers, wines and ciders for a post accompanied by a picture of a luxury tree house that read, “Tree houses aren’t just for kids, right?”

A touch of nostalgia prompted 28,687 to ‘Like’ a post by Cudo making it the most liked post of the year among department and online stores.

In the education category, the University of New South Wales is getting the most action with an average of 202,399 page fans, however it was Swinburn University who secured the most ‘Liked’ Facebook post in the catergory with 3,427 people ‘Liking’ a post about one of its graduates getting a job.

In the FMCG categories, Fanta Australia had it all going on, with the most ‘Likes’ and comments on two of their posts this year. An astounding 27,710 liked a post about a potential new drink and 11,682 commented on a post that asked fans to spot the odd can out in a row of Fanta cans.

Pringles were the champions in the FMCG food division, attracting 30,837 ‘Likes’ for a picture of an assortment of Pringle cans with the phrase ‘You know you want to’ above it.

Other Facebook successes include Maybelline New York which has enjoyed consistent Facebook traffic and interaction, Nivea skin care, parent site Babyology was also a consistant performer, achieving first, second and third place in the most-liked posts for the news and magazine site categories.

The Collingwood Football Club is way out in front as the most liked sporting club on Facebook Australia boasting, 25,250. A close second is the NSW Blues with 24,911 ‘Likes’.

Top 30 Facebook Pages by Fans

 

Images: Online Circle Australian Facebook Performance Report.

Collingwood: the brand that loves to be hated

Like the colours covering its guernsey, the way Collingwood Football Club is perceived is starkly black and white – with love or hatred. But, that’s just the way the marketers behind brand Collingwood FC like it, to the point where playing off that theme of divisiveness has become a deliberate and central tenet of its messaging.

The Club has the highest membership in the Australian Football League (AFL), and is the most supported of any code in Australia. Followers span across the globe, are dedicated, and, in some instances, notorious for being outspoken and ferocious when it comes to their beloved Magpies.

But what the largest team in the AFL is probably best known for is being the team everyone else loves to hate – and that’s the way Collingwood likes it.

While it seems preposterous to think that a brand would go out of its way to be disliked, or even loathed by the masses, that is exactly what Collingwood is aiming for. And it’s working.

“There is no grey area. We don’t want to liked by everyone like some brands do,” says Collingwood Football Club’s CEO Gary Pert.

“I talk to a lot of corporate groups and people will say, ‘If you’re so good at marketing, why do we hate you more than any other club?’ and my reply to them is always, ‘Because you’re supposed to’.”

The rivalry the club creates week after week, with team after team, sees the players filling footy fields wherever they go, rain, hail or shine. Throw in a high profile and often outspoken president, a long list of players highly active and often inappropriate on social media and a fan club that are better known for their dental hygiene than their chanting and you’ve got yourself a match made in crowd-making heaven.

Branding expert, Erminio Putignano, founding partner of brand consultancy PUSH Collective, says the hatred surrounding Collingwood has been carefully nurtured through a savvy marketing strategy in more recent times.

“Collingwood has working class embedded in its DNA (its fan base once included a vast number of Catholic immigrants and working class people), which has been consistently successful over the years, and which has flaunted its roots and its success with no apologies or restraint. That’s an explosive mix,” he says.

“So, mix together class tensions, tall-poppy syndrome and arrogance, and you have an explosive recipe for hatred from other football fans. Of course there are. Strong brands are usually built in the face of an enemy, centred around a deep antagonism.”

And antagonise they do. Pert explains that each interstate game is the perfect opportunity to generate a little bit more of the rivalry they spend so much time cultivating.

“We proudly want to be the club that everyone wants thier team to beat more than any other club. When we go [interstate], Collingwood will generate media attention and rivalry, so if you ask every supporter or every other club who is your number one rival club, it’s probably Collingwood,” he says.

“We manufacture that. There are times when we go interstate, we’ll say something in the media leading up to the game that club will respond to… it builds up the rivalry. We deliberately want to build the rivalry so all of their supporters roll up as well, and that makes the game bigger. It’s good for the competition.”

From a brand perspective, Putignano has nothing but praise for the club. “It has got a single-minded positioning, personality and a very rich underlying brand narrative that is all about ‘us against them’, he says.

“The club needs to be given credit for sticking to that narrative, even as the actual fan base and society has evolved, gentrifying and, if you can say so, getting smoother around the edges.

“They’ve brought that narrative to life in campaigns that are very dramatic, that are over-the-top in their adoption of warfare metaphors. Collingwood players, and by association their supporters, are portrayed as heroes, as martyrs. They are campaigns that ignite visceral emotions, that ask fans to make an unwavering commitment. That’s powerful stuff.”

And the power is proven. The Collingwood Football Club guernsey is the most valuable football asset in the country and the Club generates millions of dollars worth of exposure for sponsors Emirates and CGU. For a brand, Collingwood is illustrative of the notion that divisiveness pays. The harder the competitors (players, clubs, fans) hate, the stronger the love with which its met.